A few weeks ago we reminded awarding organisations that they must justify the sizes allocated to many of their qualifications by the end of June. There’s been some discussion of what this means and why we’re doing it, so here are the key facts:
- Qualifications must comprise a ‘level’ and ‘size’ for easy comparison. Our new qualifications framework provides a single, simple system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by us. It’s like a bookcase in a library, with qualifications indexed by their ‘level’ and ‘size’. Qualifications can sit at different levels, but require similar amounts of study and assessment time. Equally, qualifications at the same level can take different amounts of study and assessment time. Small qualifications are not necessarily less valuable, they’re just smaller.
- Awarding organisations must be able to justify the levels and sizes of their qualifications. Our priority is to ensure that qualifications can be trusted by those who rely on them. We expect awarding organisations to provide evidence to us to support their judgements.
- The need for regulated qualifications to have a level and size is not new. However, since October 2015 we have asked for size to be defined by Total Qualification Time (TQT) and the number of Guided Learning hours (GLH). TQT includes all the time needed to gain a qualification, including teaching (GLH), assessment and other study. The TQT value is for the time typically taken by a cohort of learners to achieve their qualification and that should reflect any pre-existing knowledge within that cohort.
We recognise that different students will take different amounts of time to study for qualifications, depending on a range of things including their prior learning. The TQT value doesn't restrict what schools and colleges can do, it simply indicates how much time a qualification might typically take. We hope it will be useful, among other things, for curriculum planning.